I must say, the Singapore dining scene has certainly grown leaps and bounds with a vast number restaurants, including those by those possessing international empires such as Joel Robuchon and Wolfgang Puck. It may not be the cheapest or best valued fine dining destination, but there are certainly plenty of options here in this island city-state. As of July 2016, the Michelin Guide published their first ever restaurant guide for Singapore, which includes the humble Soya chicken rice and noodle store and up to Chateau Joel Robuchon, the paragon of French haute cuisine. Other local institutions such as Andre was rewarded two stars, which I had previously enjoyed and felt was a fair ranking (Read Here). Now, I was keen to see how the others in the list fared in comparison, particularly against the more established Michelin starred restaurants in Europe.
First off was Odette, of which Julien Royer is the patron chef who had previously helmed the highly regarded JAAN at the Swissotel. His latest venture is Odette, a two Michelin starred restaurant housed in the magnificent National Gallery Singapore. The chef had cut his teeth with the likes of Michel Bras, as well as at The Greenhouse in Mayfair, London. With that, I was certainly intrigued by what he had to showcase.
Me and my friend opted for the Diner Tasting Menu, which had 8 courses and a hefty price tag of SG$280.
We started off with a few lovely amuses, although I particularly enjoyed the first one with onion made in different ways into a single bite.
The next amuse of sorts was a Mushroom tea with mushroom brioche, which I believe had Cep mushrooms in it. The dish had a distinct Umami flavour, although it wasn’t as intense as I hoped it would be. The brioche was also a bit dull and could have been more flaky. Perhaps I had been spoilt silly by the Brioche at Guy Savoy, but this dish could definitely be bumped up a notch.
The first official dish of the meal was Hokkaido uni with langoustine, mussel “cloud” and Oscietra caviar. This sounded like a dish which should have blown my mind away, but yet it was a bit lackluster. The Uni did not have the brightness that I would have expected from a high quality version, and the flavours were generally one note and a bit muddled.
Next, was a dish of Trondheim bay scallop with Perigord walnut, bronze fennel and Ikura. The scallops were sliced raw and were quite fresh, and paired reasonably well with the sweetness from the walnuts, texture from the fennel, and the salty hit from the Ikura roe. Wouldn’t say its a match made in heaven, but it worked.
We then moved on to a visually stunning dish of Heirloom beets, with salt-baked beetroot, Stracciatella “Artigiana” and honeycomb. The dish had all the elements and textures covered, and particularly enjoyed the Stracciatella cheese pairing with the sweet beetroot. The Nitro-frozen and crushed beetroot was perhaps a bit superfluous, and didn’t add much to the overall dish.
For the next course, this fancy display was brought out. Perhaps dry ice displays might be a bit passé, but its always pleasant to experience once in awhile. That said, I didn’t quite care for the Rosemary scent which was on the verge of being overwhelming.
Now, for the actual dish. The Rosemary smoked organic egg was prepared with smoked potato, Chorizo Iberico and buckwheat. Didn’t really get much of the buckwheat, but the egg was perfectly cooked as it should be at a restaurant of this calibre, and the Chorizo Iberico bits provided a salt hit. Not sure if this is the best way to utilize Chorizo Iberico, which felt more like regular dried bacon bits to me. That said, it was a good dish and couldn’t fault the cookery of the egg.
Next, was a dish made with Foie Gras from Maison Mitteault, a famed producer in Rouilly, France. This was served with ginger quinoa, compressed persimmon and Manzanilla. The Foie gras was lightly seared and delicate, and the persimmon provided some sweetness to the dish. The components were all well prepared, but I would have hoped for more aggressive flavours.
Moving on to the fish course, which was line-caught John Dory with Merlot jus, celeriac mousseline, and pearl onions. The fish was well cooked, and the pearl onions were pleasantly sweet with any hint of astringency. A good dish, although it didn’t quite sing for me.
Before we progressed to the final savoury course, we were presented the magnificent looking pigeon cooked with garlic and rosemary. They really do love Rosemary here!
Onwards to the meat course, which is Pigeon cooked three ways. The first part was BBQ breast with smoked cabbage, kuri squash. The breast meat was perfectly cooked and unbelievably tender. The next segment was the config leg with buckwheat blini and Girolle mushrooms, all of which were delicious. The third and final segment was liver parfait with Piedmont hazelnuts. This was probably our favourite part of the trio, as the liver parfait was rich, unctuous and had a mineral, slight metallic tinge to the dish with the innards made with it. Finally, a dish that hit the ball out of the park! Perhaps I’m more attuned to stronger flavours, but this dish definitely did it for me.
The meal concluded with a dessert of Organic lemon curd, Sable Breton and Basil. Lovely lemon flavour without being overtly sweet, and a slight hint of Basil which was pleasant. A decent albeit not the most exciting dessert course that I’ve had.
The dishes here were generally quite well executed, but perhaps the flavours were too shy and subdued for my personal liking. That said, the meal progression certainly picked up at the end with an ace Pigeon dish and that lovely liver parfait, as well as the capable dessert course. Table service was very friendly and accommodating despite the slightly stiff setting, and we had enjoyed the overall dining experience.
Would I say this is the best two Michelin starred restaurant I had been to? Probably not. In Europe, this would probably be more geared towards a strong one star restaurant, but no more.
Location: 1 St Andrew’s Road #01-04 Singapore 178957. +65 63850498. Website.